Bolivia – South America

Bolivia – South America
  • OFFICIAL NAME = PLURINATIONAL STATE OF BOLIVIA
  • NATIONALITY = BOLIVIAN(S)
  • HEMISPHERES = SOUTHERN AND WESTERN
  • CONTINENT = SOUTH AMERICA
  • CAPITAL = SUCRE 
  • MAJOR CITIES = SANTA CRUZ, LA PAZ AND SUCRE
  • OFFICIAL LANGUAGE = SPANISH AND 36 INDIGENOUS LANGUAGES
  • POPULATION = 11,340,715 (2019)
  • CURRENCY = BOLIVIAN BOLIVIANOS
  • DRIVES ON = RIGHT HAND SIDE OF ROAD
  • CALLING CODE = DIAL 011+591+PHONE NUMBER
  • TIME ZONE = 4 HOURS BEHIND GMT
  • CLIMATE = A HUMID TROPICAL CLIMATE
  • AREA = 1,098,581 SQ KM (424,165 SQ MILES)
  • HIGHEST POINT = NEVADO SAJAMA 6,542 METERS (21,463 FEET)
  • LOWEST POINT = PARAGUAY RIVER 90 METRES (295 FEET)
  • MAJOR MOUNTAIN = CORDILLERA REAL
  • MAJOR RIVER = MADEIRA RIVER (2,020 MILES)
  • RELIGION = MAINLY ROMAN CATHOLIC
  • GOVERNMENT = UNITARY PRESIDENTIAL CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC
  • INDEPENDENCE = AUGUST 6, 1825 (FROM SPAIN)
  • NATIONAL HOLIDAY = INDEPENDENCE DAY: AUGUST 6
  • NATIONAL SYMBOL = COAT OF ARMS AND THE ANDEAN CONDOR (BIRD)
  • NATIONAL COLOURS = RED, YELLOW AND GREEN
  • POPULAR SPORT = FOOTBALL
  • MAJOR INDUSTRIES = MINING, SMELTING, PETROLEUM, TOBACCO AND CLOTHING
  • NATURAL RESOURCES = NATURAL GAS, PETROLEUM, GOLD, SILVER, IRON AND TIMBER
  • AGRICULTURE = SOYBEANS ,COFFEE, COCA, COTTON, RICE, POTATOES AND TIMBER
  • MAJOR EXPORTS = NATURAL GAS, SOY PRODUCTS, CRUDE PETROLEUM, ORE AND TIN
  • MAJOR IMPORTS = AIRCRAFT AND PARTS, AUTOMOBILES AND PETROLEUM  PRODUCTS

A BRIEF HISTORY OF BOLIVIA

The earliest know inhabitants of Bolivia were nomadic hunter gatherers, who reached South America between 12000 BC and 1400 BC.

Researchers believe the next to live in this region was the Chavan people around 300 BC, who then inexplicably disappeared, only to be replaced by the Tiahuanaco culture for the next thousand years or so. They were highly  advanced in art, agriculture and architecture. The Tiahuanaco ancient ruins in La Paz is a popular tourist attraction in the country nowadays.

Other culture such as the Moxos and the Mollos, also inhabited the land of Bolivia, but like the Chavan people, they all just disappeared into thin air. However, in around the 1440’s, shortly after the demise of the Tiahuanaco culture, the Incas , the last of South America’s indigenous conquerors arrived.

At high speed, the Incas rose to prominence in Bolivia, conquering lands and building their great cities and aqueducts. When the Incas arrived in Bolivia, they assimilated local tribes as they have done elsewhere, enslaving them to work in their mines and fields.

The Incas Empire ruled the land until the early 1500’s, when the Spanish arrived looking for gold and riches. In 1524, led by Francisco Pizarro, the Spanish conquest began, they were brutal and efficient, and within a decade they had defeated the Incas and the country now was under Spanish rule.

The discovery of silver at Potosi in 1545, helped to make Spain one of the world’s wealthiest nations, all thanks to the enslaved Africans and indigenous South Americans who were forced to work in the mines for them, most of them dying after just a few years, from either harsh conditions or from diseases.

This exploitation and cruelty of the Indians and Africans nearly lasted for three whole centuries, and something had to give and it did eventually in 1809, when the the indigenous people of Bolivia rebelled against Spanish rule, but the first wave of rebellion was crushed by the Spanish at the battle of Chuquisaca.

However, they did not have to wait to much longer for freedom, because in 1822, General Simon Bolivar, who had succeeded in liberating both Venezuela and Colombia from Spanish domination, dispatched General Antonio Jose de Sucre to defeat the Spanish Royalists at the battle of Pichincha.

After years of guerrilla action against the Spanish, both Bolivar and Sucre were victorious in the battles of Junin and Ayacucho. On August 6, 1825, the new Republic of Bolivia was born. The country was named after General Simon Bolivar, the great South American liberator.

SHORT FACTS ON BOLIVIA

Bolivia is the fifth largest country in South America, and is the twenty eight largest in the world.

Bolivia is bordered to the north and east by Brazil, to the southeast by Paraguay, to the south by Argentina, to the southwest and west by Chile, and to the northwest by Peru.

Bolivia has been landlocked, since it lost its Pacific coast territory to Chile in the” War of the Pacific” between 1879-84. However, since then, agreements have been put in place with its neighbouring countries to allow them direct access to both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Bolivia has two capitals, La Paz and Sucre. During political turmoil , the conservative Party and the Liberal Party , both compromised in both cities sharing the title as “capital”. In recent years, there has been movements to make Sucre the main capital of the country, however this has been unsuccessful.

La paz has a population of 2,835,000 inhabitants, in contrast, Sucre’s population is 415,000 inhabitants.

Bolivia has the world’s highest capital city, La Paz is located at an altitude of 3600 meters (11,800 feet) above sea level.

La Paz, is well known for its unique markets, unusual topography, and traditional culture.

At the witches market in La Paz, you’ll notice unusual items for sale. Where you’d expect to find potatoes, you’ll find dried animal fetuses instead. You’ll also see real life witches casting magic spells and offering to tell you your future. You can also purchase, aphrodisiac formulas and potions that promise you beauty and fertility.

One third of the territory of Bolivia lies in the Andes Mountains.

Bolivia has the largest proportion of indigenous people, who make up about two thirds of the population.

While Spanish is the official language in Bolivia, there are well also over thirty indigenous languages spoken in the country.

In Bolivia, there are up to 36 different indigenous groups and they all have there own languages, customs, traditions and way of life.

Bolivia’s mountainous western region is one of the highest inhabited areas in the world.

Bolivia’s mountainous region is dominated by two great parallel ranges. To the west is the Cordillera Occidental, which contains numerous active volcanoes, and to the east is the Cordillera Oriental.

The Madeira river is the longest river in Bolivia. It measures 2,020 miles long and it is a major water body in the continent of South America, as it is one of the biggest tributaries of the Amazon River.

The Amazon River itself, starts high up in the Andes Mountains in Peru, and flows through Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, and Ecuador before finally reaching the Atlantic Ocean.

The Amazon River is responsible for about one fifth of all freshwater that flows into the world’s oceans. It is also home to around 3000 known species of fish.

Bolivia is one of the world’s largest producers of Coca, the raw material of cocaine.

Bolivia has the second largest reserve of natural gas in South America. It sells natural gas to Brazil.

El Alto International airport in Bolivia is at an altitude of 4,061 metres, making it the highest international airport in the world.

Lake Titicaca, on the border between Bolivia and Peru in the Andes Mountains, is at 3,800 metres (12,470 feet) above sea level. It is called the ” highest navigable lake ” in the world. The Uros people still live on the lake, on floating islands made from a grassy lake reed.

Salar de Uyuni, in southwest Bolivia, is the largest salt flats in the world. It is nestled in amongst spectacular mountain sceneries, and is one of the most popular tourist sites in Bolivia today. It measures, 10,582 SQ KM (4,086 SQ miles) in size, and is known as the “world’s largest mirror”, especially during the wet seasons, as it turns into a mirror of the sky above.

Bolivia is one of the most bio-diverse regions on Earth. They are excessively proud of the thousands of species of birds, animals, fish, reptiles, and amphibians that can be found in there well preserved national parks.

Here is a list of some awesome native animal species you’ll find in Bolivia: the jaguar, the manned wolf, the giant otter, the Andean flamingo, the spectacled bear, the capybara, the alpaca, the Andean condor, the Amazon river dolphin, the viscacha, the piranha, the sloth, the tapir, the chinchilla, the caiman, and the anaconda.

The Capybara is the world’s largest rodent and is native to Bolivia. It looks like a giant sized guinea pig. Every lent in Bolivia, tonnes of capybara is eaten.

When speaking about the weather in Bolivia, one typically refers only to two seasons, the rainy one and the wet one. The wet season roughly runs from November to March , and the dry season runs from May to October.

Bolivia’s weather differs greatly depending on the altitude of the region, as most of the country is situated at a high elevation, temperatures vary from hot and humid during daytime, to freezing cold at night.

Bolivia has a great potential as a tourist attraction, due to its diverse culture, geographic regions, rich history and food. And with the government pushing hundreds of millions of dollars into the infrastructure of the country, one day , Bolivia will be one of the most visited countries, not only in South America, but in the world.

The Yungas Road in Bolivia, is probably the world’s most dangerous road. The road is carved into the mountainside, and in places is sometimes not much wider than a bus. Between 200 and 300 people die on it every year, as cars, buses, and often trucks fall over its steep edges.

Bolivia was named after Venezuela’s General, Simon Bolivar, who helped free Bolivia and other South America from the clutches of Spanish rule.

Although Bolivia has no coast, it still has a big navy. The Bolivian Navy is a branch of the Bolivian Armed Forces. There is a compulsory military service for all Bolivian citizens.

Bolivia is the poorest country in South America. Most of the people here are farmers, or work on farms.

Inequality in Bolivia is very high, as there are some very rich people, while the majority of the country is extremely poor.

Bolivia is main exporter of Brazil nuts.

The literacy rate in Bolivia is 92.5%, and people can expect to live to be 71.5 years old.

Flight times to Bolivia , from London/UK takes roughly 14.5 hours, and a flight from New York/USA takes about 8.5 hours.

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